Friday, August 17, 2007

Yazidis and the Original Religion of the Near East

The horrific bombing in the Kurdish regions around Kirkuk (death toll estimates currently at 400) targeted the Yazidis, a smallish Kurdish (but non-Muslim) sect. The Ys tended to separate themselves from the Peshmerge (the Kurdish military), which likely resulted in their being left vulnerable to this brutal attack. (For interviews with some Yazidis, here via BBC).

Who are theologically the Yazidis?

For repeat readers, they will know I support the (somewhat) controversial thesis of Christian scholar Margaret Barker (known as Royal Temple Theology).

Barker's first work is titled The Older Testament. A brilliant way to describe her point of view--namely that the Judaism that comes across in the Hebrew Bible we currently have has been massively (re)edited, more than most scholars will admit, by the Deuteronomic/Rabbinic schools of Judaism.

The Older Testament (as opposed to the "Old Testament" of the Deutro. school) included the belief in two g/Gods. The first was the High God (El, Elyon) who had "sons" (angelic beings). Each angel, known as an angel of the nation, was chosen for a specific people. As above so below. i.e. When their was war on earth between two peoples, their angels were fighting in heaven. Hence all the Psalms rousing YHWH (Israel's Angel/god) to fight.

The second G/god then is YHWH for Israel. The second God can manifest/appear either in angelic form (i.e. pillar of cloud leading the Israelites through the Desert) or in human-form, a la the three visitors to Abraham, who he recognized as angels and worshiped.

The Yazidis are called "Satanists" by certain Muslims and Christians in Iraq because they are said to worship an "angel." In other words, the Yazidis are the modern day practicioners of this essentially ancient (Older) Near Eastern religion. The "original" Judaism. Or the original religion from which likely most, if not all, Eastern religions descend. Including Islam by the way, given that Islam considers itself to be returning to the original religion of Abraham.

The charge of Satanism then sadly way off. Because Yazidis are actually following the basic

Christianity replicates this "second God" structure by having the Father be El/Elyon the unnameable high God and Christ (incarnate in Jesus) being the second God, the God of the "Christians".

The dangerous trend of this system, no doubt, (Jesus=High Priest) is that Jesus is an Angel and not really human....called Docetism or Gnosticism when it becomes a heresy.

It's a kind of pluralistic monotheism. There is only one High God for everyone. And only one mediator, second God for each group. One angel/god per nation. But multiple one way mediations. This model splits the difference between syncretism (bad merging of too many paths/angels) and fundamentalist exclusivism (our mediation path as only path).

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